Traveling alone is the ideal situation for an introvert. Enjoying long walks alone at my pace in the warm weather, seeing shorebirds, tropical plants, and eating and sleeping when I feel like it, as well as quietly reading a book for as long as I want, are all soothing to my soul.
When I was a teenager, I thought there was something wrong with me because I was so content in my alone time, but I judged myself by extrovert standards. These are merely two different personality types, and each requires different levels of solitude. Mr. Mickey is the ruling king of extroverts, if you are wondering.
You can see from the side-by-side photos below; I truly needed to get away for a while. I am wearing makeup in both images, and my hair was not styled differently; it was just lifeless and limp before. I am sharing these photos for one purpose only; to prove to you as it did to me that diet, exercise, sleep, and a sense of peace or the lack thereof impact the way we look and feel.
While I was on vacation, I walked for several miles per day, so I lost more than five pounds and slept for eight hours instead of the usual three or four. I had steel cut oats with apples or other fruit and nuts most mornings and a large salad with lobster or other seafood at lunchtime, and I even enjoyed a couple of desserts. I do not usually have an evening meal.
The red top is here from Covered Perfectly. I wore it with jeans and a low-slung belt I purchased from Chico’s a few years ago. I wear these tops almost daily in winter because they are the best first layer under a jacket, vest, or cardigan.
When you shop with Covered Perfectly, you can buy two and get the third top for free. Susan After 60, followers can get a 20% discount on up to two items. Use the discount code FNF20 when you check out at Covered Perfectly. There are several great styles to choose from, and the discount will apply on up to two items; after that, you can take advantage of the buy 2 get 1 FREE special. Only one discount will work per order. The link to the Covered Perfectly site is here.
I have been single for many years, had numerous jobs requiring extensive solo travel, and served in the US Navy for four years, including many solo trips. It is more of an effort for me to travel with others than it is to go alone. Some of the tips that have been helpful to me are listed below.
1. Plan your trip, but not so tightly that you have no flexibility or time to lose yourself in the moment. I researched what was available in the Cape Coral area and decided what I wanted to do well in advance of my trip. The rain fell for most of the day I visited Sanibel Island, so I did not get to do all the things I wanted, but I didn’t let the rain ruin my day. I walked on the beach while I could and looked for shells. I visited a Shell Museum and the very first Chico’s as well as a few other shops. I don’t need anything, so I didn’t make any purchases, but it was fun to see what is new for spring. I planned several options for each area I wanted to visit so that I could be flexible. If it rained or something turned out not to be my cup of tea, I could move on to the next item on my list.
2. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Shoes take up a lot of room in your luggage, so I limit myself to no more than three pairs, and I wear the bulkiest pair while traveling. Take shoes that are different in style and function so that you have three bases covered.
3. Wear inexpensive jewelry that complements everything that you take. If something goes missing or gets damaged, you will not be so upset. One watch, one ring, one bracelet, and one pair of earrings in classic styles and silver colors looked OK with all my clothing.
4. I have never been a night owl, so I explore during the day and then retire early. Be extra vigilant and careful if you decide to go out for a drink or have a late dinner. Trust your instincts. If something seems off, it probably is. Politeness is never more important than safety. Walk with your back straight and your head held high, and exude as much confidence as you can. Looking confused and lost can make you a target.
5. Always have the appropriate charger for your phone, especially if you are using it to navigate. I take a photo of my rental car and tag number with my phone. Never let the fuel get below 1/4 tank in your rental car, and take note of the vehicle’s color and make. Establish a landmark each time you park or start on a long walk.
6. Keep your luggage in your control at all times. Lock the doors to your rental car the moment you close the door. Never park near a van or in a dark corner of the lot. Try to park near a well-lit building or the elevator in a garage. These are all common sense things, but it is easy to let your guard down when enjoying a relaxing vacation.
7. For many women, dining alone is the most dreaded thing. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard, “Just one?” or “Are you waiting for someone else?” I enjoy my thoughts and watching people coming and going or passing by the window if I am lucky enough to get one of those tables. I don’t look at my phone or read while I am waiting for my food. I embrace the solitude and enjoy not having to talk to anyone. I never rush through my meal because I am alone. I order as many courses as I want but never have more than one glass of wine.
Feel free to add your tips in the comments below. We can all benefit from sharing information about traveling alone.